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Farms, Bakeries, & Nashua River Trail

Day Trip Report: 30 July 2017

Sun finally. It had been rainy & cold for several days. So large group of people were ready for a nice bicycle tour. Some 30 of them were at the station when I arrived on the train with a few others.

I took Fitchburg line of MBTA Commuter Rail, leaving Concord at 9:15 arriving Ayer at 9:38. It was on time.

After a brief safety talk with the group, we split into different paces, & got on the trail for a short distance to Groton. We stopped to supply food for picnic at the park two hours later. First choice was Bliss Bakery:


Location: 42.606868°N, 71.569171°W

There is also a Natural Market & Salt & Light Café.

West of Groton, routes 225 & 2A were somewhat busy with cars for about 12km, but had wide shoulders. Then we switched to small quiet roads for the remainder of the tour.

A couple on a tandem with toddler in tow started with us at the train station, with intent of round trip to Pearl Hill pond. By the time I arrived, they were already there & their son already playing in the water.

Of course I also jumped in:


Location: 42.656901°N, 71.758013°W

We rested & ate snacks at the picnic table. There was also a water fountain to fill bottles.

Very few stops were available until Hollis, unless we needed a break from rolling hills.

On the other side of town was Lull Farm:


Location: 42.743928°N, 71.577950°W

Local peach, watermelon, yogurt, & milk were available:

Large section for bread & pastries:

Soon after the farm, we entered the Nashua River Trail from its northern terminus all the way to the southern terminus in Ayer.

A few short sections on the trail were rough from undergrowth of tree roots. Otherwise, very pleasant, in the shade, & many benches to rest on.

Shops in Groton were closed by 15:30 on Sunday afternoon. Instead, we continued to Ayer train station & waited for the train at 16:05.

Notes

  • Map from Garmin & Strava: download GPX, FIT, TCX, KML, & other file format for GPS track.
    • Distance ➡️ 92.26km
    • Speed ⏩ 15.6km/h
    • Duration 🔄 5h:55m:22s
    • Ascent ⬆️ 692m
    • Descent ⬇️ 696m
    • Calories *️⃣ 2,545
    • Temperature 📶 23.3ºC
  • Feature:
  • Variations
    • Shorter loop: continue on train to Fitchburg station, navigate to meet the route near Pearl Hill State Park, continue on the same route to return by train from Ayer.
    • Easy trail ride: stay on Nashua River Trail for the entire day. Start in Ayer, stop in Groton to supply with food, continue on the trail all the way to northern terminus, & then turn back. Total should be about 40km with little elevation gain.
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Boston–Providence

Day Trip Report: 16 July 2017

I had recently learned about many bakery options in Providence, so I had to make a visit. In fact, I created several itineraries that include bakery visit in Providence. This was the first one I explored.

The route started from Charles/MGH subway station along Charles River:


Location: 42.359241°N, 71.073125°W

I was not sure how riding will be through busy city streets, between cars, & with little scenery. It turned out that Beacon street offered bicycle lanes & wide shoulders on long stretches:


Location: 42.339776°N, 71.132124°W

The scenery was pleasant to explore unique neighborhoods of Boston College, Newton, & Wellesley:


Location: 42.330222°N, 71.194672°W

Many of them reminded me of the route I ran just a few months earlier for Boston Marathon.

Eighty minutes later, I arrived The Common Café & Bakery just in time for rest & snack. Options included stacks of pancakes, fresh parfait, & thick French toast:


Location: 42.283253°N, 71.347380°W

I sat for a few minutes across the street in Natick Green before proceeding south onto some suburban & rural quiet roads. They were narrow, well paved, twisty, & fun to be on bicycle.


Location: 42.172255°N, 71.317437°W

In Dover Market, while not ready yet for another snack, Avelines hazelnut Swiss chocolate did not count. I had to try one:


Location: 42.244850°N, 71.282067°W

Deli, cheese shop, & other Swiss chocolates were available.

Popular bicycle destination was Blue Moon Bagel Café & bakery:


Location: 42.194050°N, 71.288680°W

I carried asiago & jalapeño bagels with me for the road to eat later in Franklin Green: rest, snack, & nap in gazebo:


Location: 42.089231°N, 71.401650°W

Along the way, I found the gift shop for Trappistine chocolate, made with love & prayers by Sisters of Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey:


Location: 42.040658°N, 71.394180°W

The shop was closed on Sunday. However, through a small visitor center, there was a limited selection of chocolate boxes for purchase.

The route was about to get even better closer to Providence on the paved Blackstone River trail:


Location: 41.912450°N, 71.408630°W

The trail ends before arriving Providence, but there were plenty of signs to navigate through side streets. I made my way to Seven Stars bakery:

Selection was large. Bread choice was heard. But of course I got olive bread:


Location: 41.849555°N, 71.394880°W

Knead & PV donut shops were closed by then. I will have to visit them another time.

I got on the train at 16:56 to arrive Boston at 18:07.

Notes

  • Route map & log from Garmin & Strava: download GPX, FIT, TCX, KML, & other file format for GPS track
    • Distance ➡️ 111.16km
    • Speed ⏩ 15.3km/h
    • Duration 🔄 7h:15m:54s
    • Ascent ⬆️ 807m
    • Descent ⬇️ 806m
    • Calories *️⃣ 3,315
    • Temperature 📶 27.2ºC
  • Food:
  • Places:
  • Variations:
    • Start from Natick train station. Take Framingham/Worcester train from Boston at 8:40 to arrive at 9:20. Get breakfast at Bakery at the Common. Continue route as is, less 28km.
    • Try the route in reverse! Take train in the morning from Boston to Providence & bicycle back to Boston along the same route.

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Trip report 23–25 June 2017

Family-friendly bicycle tour of Cape Cod: bicycle path, farmers’ market, salt water taffy, ice cream, bakeries, lighthouses, & many beaches to play at.

We met on Friday evening in Eastham hostel, set in a wooded area with common space, eating area, open play space, & small cabins. We spent the weekend visiting many attractions along the Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT) going out to Orleans farmers’ market, Nickerson State Park, Coast Guard beach, Nauset lighthouse, PB Boulangerie bakery, Flax pond, & much more.

The route was mostly flat, with many services & food stops along the way to purchase meals & snacks.

Friday: Rock Harbor Beach

We arrived Friday afternoon to find our cabin, meet the group, & explore the area.

There was plenty of space for the kids to play frisbee, hang the hammocks, & chase each other.

Later we took a short bicycle ride to Rock Harbor beach.

Initially, we wanted to get dinner from the seafood shack near Rock Harbor beach. But they were running out of supplies when we arrived minutes before closing at 18:00. Instead, we spent time on the beach chasing crabs & getting feet wet:


Location: 41.800087°N, 70.008461°W

We traced our route back toward Orleans for dinner at Guapo’s Tortilla Shack.

Our group had a mix of 8-bed & 4-bed cabins: bunk beds, limited electricity outlets to charge devices, outdoor showers. The main building had indoor showers, restrooms, kitchen, dining area, & wireless internet.

Saturday: Nickerson State Park

Weather forecast was for heavy rain in late morning. We opted to proceed with our bicycle plan regardless.

But first we had a healthy breakfast of cereal, juice, fruit, & blueberry pancakes.

The hostel is a short distance away from CCRT. Within 15 minutes, we arrived Orleans to shop for bread at farmers’ market & bagels at Jo Mama’s.


Location: 41.787172°N, 69.994133°W

Then we proceeded to Nickerson State Park to find shelter from the expected rain. Once there, the group decided to continue on bicycle, rain or shine.

One group decided to take the park roller coaster trail with many quick hills & some dirt tracks:


Location: 41.77327°N, 70.02903°W

Another group continue on the main CCRT.

This was when the rain started coming down. Heavily. We got soaked. No matter. We had a blast on the park trail, with the thrill of steep short hills followed by quick descents. The dirt trail was plenty fun, difficult at times, just what the kids asked for!

In the afternoon, the sun came out warm & bright to dry all the wet gear we had:


Location: 41.802355°N, 69.990451°W

Back at the hostel, we had a choice of indoor or outdoor shower before hearty dinner that we ordered from The Corner Store:


Location: 41.786767°N, 69.990020°W

They offered whoopie pies in triple chocolate, peanut butter, red velvet, strawberry, coconut, & classic.

No. Whoopie pies were not our dinner! We ordered burritos & salads.

Sunday: Coast Guard Beach

We had an amazing plan to visit the best bakery & the best beach on Cape Cod.

We started for a short distance on the CCRT before turning right to join Nauset trail for a winding ride through forest & marsh area:


Location: 41.843761°N, 69.950867°W

The trail ended at Coast Guard beach. There were changing rooms, restrooms, showers, & endless sand for the kids to play on.

We had an extended stop there resting & body surfing on the waves. Then everyone was ready for lunch.

We returned to CCRT by way of Nauset lighthouse & The Three Sisters:


Location: 41.858847°N, 69.957283°W

We continued to the northern terminus of the trail to visit PB Boulangerie for chocolate almond croissant, bread, & soup:


Location: 41.916820°N, 69.989288°W

Itinerary

Day Service Log
Friday 23 June 2017 Eastham hostel: stayed here for the weekend, both nights.
Dinner at Guapo’s Tortilla Shack
Saturday 9:06
  • Orleans Farmer’s Market
  • Corner Store
  • Jo Mama’s
  • Map: Strava & Garmin: download GPX route data
  • Distance ➡️ 32.73km
  • Speed ⏩ 6.2km/h
  • Duration 🔄 5h:16m:55s
  • Ascent ⬆️ 154m
  • Temperature 📶 19.6ºC
  • Sunday 9:30 PB Boulangeire

  • Map: Strava & Garmin
  • ➡️ 34.48km
  • ⏩ 6.2km/h
  • 🔄 5h:34m:12s
  • ⬆️ 139m
  • 📶 27.2ºC
  • Packing List

    Games

    Small portable games to share: rackets, frisbee, cards, ball, puzzles, kite, Sequence, Sorry, SET, & others.

    Swimming

    Extra towels, sun screen, goggles, & change of clothes.

    Bicycle

    Bicycle Bag

    The most comfortable option for carrying gear, clothes, & food is inside panniers mounted on a bicycle rack. These relieve back pain & keep better balance.

    Otherwise, small backpack with such gear, ideally with a waist strap to keep it steady.

    Beds

    A bunk with mattress, sheets, pillow, pillow case, & blankets are provided. Cabins are not heated. Bring extra sweater, jacket, or sleeping sack. Personal linens & sleeping bags are not permitted.

    Bathrooms are outside the cabins, in the main building. Bring headlight to walk out at night.

    Clothes

    • Rain gear
    • Casual clothing, vest, jacket, sweater
    • Warm clothing
    • Lunch food, snacks, & money to purchase
    • Navigation tools: GPS device & phone with navigation apps

    Accessories

    The following is a long list of items to bring. Use it as a reminder of additional items that can make your trip and rides more comfortable.

    • Bicycle Clothing
      • Vest
      • Socks
      • Gloves
      • Sunglasses
    • Bicycle Gear
    • Casual Clothing
      • Shoes, sandals, or flip flops
      • Slacks
      • T-shirt
      • Long-sleeve shirt
      • Jacket
      • Swim suite, goggles, & towel
    • Accessories
      • Toothbrush
      • Lip balm
      • Toothpaste
      • Razor
      • Shaving cream
      • Contact lens solution & case
      • Glasses
      • Flashlight or head lamp
      • Mobile phone & charger
      • Deodorant
      • Comb (or light hat for the evening)
      • Sunscreen
      • Camera & battery charger
      • GPS, power charger, bicycle mount

    Communication

    WiFi was available at the hostel.

    Mobile phone reception was available throughout the entire trip.

    Phone Navigation

    Used MAPS.ME app for phone navigation. Prepare these steps ahead of the trip when you have internet connection.

    • Install MAPS.ME app on your iPhone or Android phone.
    • Open the app
    • Open menu options from the three horizontal bars at the bottom right corner
    • Select Download Maps
    • In the subsequent menus, navigate to find the country & region to download maps for
    • Download map for United Stats of America: Massachusetts: Barnstable

    Social Network

    We used Rudel app to share location of other participants on the trip.

    Share your location anonymously in real time. No login, email, or phone number required.

    The battery drains quickly when using this app. Watch it closely, use it when needed, & carry extra battery with you.

    Variations

    This is one of several trips we have made to Cape Cod, with different ideas, itineraries, destinations, & duration.

    Pioneer Valley

    Trip Report: 27–29 May 2017

    The triangle between Northampton, Brattleboro, & Keene towns is an obvious bicycle tour destination.


    Location: 42.568797°N, 72.591325°W

    All three offer small walking street, bicycles trails, art shops, ice cream parlors, & hearty meals in co-op markets. We even got the chance to watch the new release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales.

    Northampton–Brattleboro

    A bakery had to be near the start point. A location close to both Boston & New York helped for the group coming from both.

    We met Saturday morning in the parking lot on Hampton Avenue. We only had to pay $2.50 for Saturday while Sunday & Monday were free due to holiday. Sylvester’s breakfast café & bakery were near by for bread & granola:


    Location: 42.318387°N, 72.628137°W

    A bikeway leads out of town to small roads along the Connecticut river, passing by Mount Sugarloaf. Some decided to bicycle up to the summit on a very steep road that was well worth it:


    Location: 42.469903°N, 72.592147°W

    Closer to Greenfield, we got on long stretches of trails with direct view of the river, where the kids had more opportunity to ride next to each other & chat:


    Location: 42.598338°N, 72.568267°W

    In Turner Falls was our extended lunch break at 2nd Street Bakery of soup & cranberry walnut braid bread:


    Location: 42.606280°N, 72.555612°W

    Of course followed by Country Creemee ice cream:


    Location: 42.608833°N, 72.556345°W

    Then we got to see the falls on the way out of town:


    Location: 42.610717°N, 72.553353°W

    We still had about half way left on pleasant roads on small rolling hills, except a big one when leaving Turner Falls. No specific stops on this part of the day other than occasional. snack stops by the side of the road.

    Until Brattleboro. We checked into Latchis Hotel & Theater. The best part of dinner was a slide of fresh bread & maple Greek yogurt from the Co-op:


    Location: 42.850730°N, 72.557838°W

    It was tempting to watch a movie at the theater. But we saved that for next day in Keene when we would have more time.

    Brattleboro–Keene

    We had two route options open to group preference. Both started out of town, crossing the border from Vermont to New Hampshire:


    Location: 42.884925°N, 72.555795°W

    Then traveled along the Connecticut river north, before splitting.

    Most of the group decided to go with the shorter route briefly along route NH-12 before taking the Cheshire Rail Trail. It was rough initially with rocks & roots. But they had to keep moving away from bugs. Later, the trail was smoother as it got closer to town. They took advantage of a stop at Yolo Frozen Yogurt & swim in hotel pool.

    Meanwhile, I continued with two others north back in Vermont for big lunch at Miss Bellows Falls diner.

    With full stomach, next was a hill. A big long hill with steep sections between colorful neighborhood:


    Location: 43.082356°N, 72.351050°W

    It was a very sweet descent & fast ride to reach Surry Mountain beach for a dip in cold water:


    Location: 43.004029°N, 72.317487°W

    In Keene, it was time for dinner, movie (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales), & von Trapp Bock Bier (A little of Austria, a lot of Vermont):

    Keene–Northampton

    This last day was about covered bridges. It was also the longest with rain in forecast late morning.

    Just outside of Keene, we arrived at Cresson covered bridge:


    Location: 42.88624°N, 72.286638°W

    Thompson covered bridge circa 1832:


    Location: 42.871925°N, 72.327675°W

    Slate covered bridge 2001:


    Location: 42.847477°N, 72.340352°W

    Coombs covered bridge 1837:


    Location: 42.837912°N, 72.360912°W

    With bonus sight later of French King bridge:


    Location: 42.59585°N, 72.49593°W

    We caught two Memorial Day parades: the first one in Winchester, NH:


    Location: 42.773255°N, 72.383559°W

    The second was in Northfield, MA.

    Drops of rain started to come down. It was an opportunity while watching the parade to wear our rain gear.

    Wet & cold, we pressed on to reach The Lady Killigrew Café & Pub for lunch:


    Location: 42.537955°N, 72.537317°W

    We stayed there for two and a half hours to dry, warm, eat, & wait for rain to subside.

    But we only had a third of the way to go, ever so slightly downhill with the river, & a long section on Norwottuck trail between Amherst & Northampton.

    We arrive in good time before 17:00 to eat a snack & return home.

    Itinerary

    Day Places Log
    Saturday 27 May 2017 10:49
  • Sylvester’s breakfast café & bakery
  • Sugarloaf Mountain
  • 2nd Street Bakery
  • Country Creemee ice cream
  • Map Garmin & Strava: download GPX, FIT, TCX, KML, & other file format for GPS track
  • Distance ➡️ 79.40km
  • Speed ⏩ 10.6km/h
  • Duration 🔄 7h:28m:10s
  • Ascent ⬆️ 531m
  • Temperature 📶 20.5ºC
  • Sunday 9:25
  • Miss Bellows Falls diner
  • Surry Mountain beach
  • Map Garmin & Strava
  • ➡️ 75.74km
  • ⏩ 10.1km/h
  • 🔄 7h:30m:56s
  • ⬆️ 809m
  • 📶 21.0ºC
  • Monday 8:02
  • Cresson covered bridge
  • Thompson covered bridge
  • Slate covered bridge
  • Coombs covered bridge
  • French King bridge
  • The Lady Killigrew Café
  • Map Garmin & Strava
  • ➡️ 93.60km
  • ⏩ 11.0km/h
  • 🔄 8h:31m:36s
  • ⬆️ 524m
  • 📶 11.2ºC
  • Total

  • ➡️ 248.7km
  • ⏩ 10.58km/h
  • 🔄 23h:30m:42s
  • ⬆️ 1,864m
  • 📶 17.3ºC
  • Garden Route to Cape Town

    Trip Prospectus: 1–18 November 2018

    Along the white beaches of the Indian Ocean, through evergreen forests and the desolate Karoo, through the wild solitude of the Swartberg Mountains, in the Wine lands of the Cape and further to Cape Town, one of the most beautiful metropolises in the world. Mountain passes, solitary gorges, breathtaking coastline—all on very good, European standard roads. From November to March is the South African summer, which means, cycling with lots of sun in warm temperatures in the Cape Province.

    Dual Ride Options

    We will offer two ride options daily:

    • Moderate: effort will be 50% of normal, given the pedal-assist electronic bicycle. This group will cover about 65km (40mi) during the day with about 600m (2,000ft) elevation gain, at average moving speed of 15–22km/h (10–14mph). Some days may have shorter distance & higher elevation. Other days may be the opposite.
    • Advanced: compared with the moderate, this group will go longer (100km average, higher (1,000m average), and faster (20–30km/h average).

    Both groups will not drop anyone behind. We will frequently regroup. We will have backup plans to cut the day short when we must.

    At a minimum everyone on the trip must be able to join the moderate rides daily.

    Bicycles

    We will offer two bicycle options:

    • Electric pedal-assist bicycles: default bicycles, unless you want a regular bicycle, then you need to speak with the leaders.
      • Put 50% of the effort or cover double the distance.
      • These are not “motor-bicycles”. They do not drive on their own. They simply assist you as you pedal. You still have to put the effort & retain full control of the bicycle.
      • The electric motor does not assist when speed is higher than 25km/h (16mph).
      • This is a great option for those who want to enjoy the full experience for the trip, joining the advanced rides, with less fitness requirement.

    • Road performance bicycles: you get a road bicycle with carbon frame & Shimano 105 compact group.

    Vehicle Support


    Our accompanying vehicle transports your luggage, water, & snacks. It also transports participants & bicycles based on route itinerary. There will be times when we have either a remote start or stop. That will require transfer from or to our lodging destination.

    All participants are expected to be self-sufficient while on the road with extra food, bicycle repair equipment, tubes, clothing layers, etc.

    Lodging

    We overnight in selected guesthouses, lodges and small hotels in a personal & relaxed atmosphere.

    Facilities range from ★★ to ★★★★, depending on the area we are staying in. Such information is indicated in itinerary where available.
    All rooms are double occupancy.

    Itinerary

    All distance & elevation information are approximate based on representative maps.

    The leaders reserve the right to change the itinerary for reasons such as weather, road conditions, availability of accommodations, group preference, etc.

    Destination Route Moderate Advanced
    Thursday 1 November 2018: depart the US on evening flight This departure date is highly dependent on flight route. Depart on Thursday for low cost flights over two days.
    Friday 2 November For US departure on Thursday, arrive in Europe for connecting flight, with extended full day stay to tour the city & relax from travel.

    Another option is to depart US on Friday on more expensive flight with quick connection in Europe.

    Saturday 3 November: arrive Port Elizabeth (PLZ) Relax, adjust, & recover from flight
    Sunday 4 November: Transfer in group shuttle to Addo Elephant National Park. Game drive in the National Park. Lodge ★★★★ Relax, swim in the pool, & check the bicycles. Take a game drive in the open jeep in Addo Elephant National Park. Apart from the elephants there are also, amongst others, zebra, lions, buffalo, ostrich, tortoise, warthogs and bontebok. Transfer to Humansdorp on the Garden Route.
    Monday 5 November: Cycle Humansdorp–Tsitsikamma. Stay at a charming lodge ★★★ Along the old Cape road our first afternoon ride takes us along the boundary of the Tsitsikamma Mountain Range. ➡️70km
    ⬆️600m
    ➡️100km
    ⬆️750m
    Tuesday 6 November: Cycle Tsitsikamma National Park–Plettenberg Bay. Transfer to Knysna to a comfortable lodge ★★★★. Knysna is famous for its ‘Heads’, two steep, towering cliffs, which mark the entrance to Knysna Lagoon Our second ride takes us into the Tsitsikamma National Park. Visit the Storms River Bridge. Once on the coastal plateau again, we are soon taken down into the deeply cut river valley of the Bloukrans and later through Nature’s Valley. A break on one of South Africa’s most beautiful beaches. Back to the plateau and towards the seaside resort of Plettenberg Bay. To Natures Valley:
    ➡️65km
    ⬆️620m
    ➡️96km
    ⬆️920m
    Wednesday 7 November: Cycle Groot Brakrivier – Oudtshoorn. We stay for two nights in a charming historic guesthouse ★★★★ After a transfer to Groot Brakrivier our ride takes us over the Robinson Pass Pass (850m) with beautiful views back along the coastline. Within a few kilometers the landscape changes from the evergreen coast to the dry expanse of the Little Karoo. The host invites us to a traditional South African barbecue evening, called a Braai. Of course, ostrich steak cannot be missing! Ruiterbos to Oudtshoorn:
    ➡️75km
    ⬆️650m
    ➡️100km
    ⬆️1,150m
    Thursday 8 November: Cycle to Cango Caves and Ostrich Farm From the ostrich town of Oudtshoorn we cycle through Schoemanns Gorge to the well-known Cango Dripstone Caves. After the visit carry on to an Ostrich farm where you learn more about this curious bird. ➡️60km
    ⬆️400m
    ➡️60km
    ⬆️400m

    Optional transfer to nearby De Rust & ride through beautiful Meiringspoort: ➡️48km ⬆️250m

    Friday 9 November: cycle Oudtshoorn–Calitzdorp–Ladismith. We stay overnight in a simple but clean guesthouse ★★ We cycle on level ground to Calitzdorp, which is well-known for its port wine. After a lunch stop, we cycle up to the Huis River Pass (670m). Along the Swartberg Mountains we reach Ladismith, with the over 2,000m Towerkop towering over it. To Calitzdorp:
    ➡️50km
    ⬆️200m
    ➡️110km
    ⬆️1,130m
    Saturday 10 November: cycle Ladismith – Barrydale. Stay at the charming Karoo Hotel ★★★ Through the grand expanse of the Little Karoo, full of unique succulent plants, we reach Barrydale a little hamlet on the foothills of the Langeberg Mountain. ➡️80km
    ⬆️650m
    ➡️96km
    ⬆️750m
    Sunday 11 November: cycle Barrydale–Montagu. The hot springs, for which Montagu is famous, are very close to our comfortable hotel ★★★★. A benefit for our tired cyclist muscles! Lots of indigenous Fynbos plants like protea and heath can be found. Following the Langeberg Mountains we climb on top of Op die Tradouw Pass (950m) before following the undulating route into wonderful Montagu, a wine town in the Cape Mountains. Barrydale to Montagu:
    ➡️60km
    ⬆️750m
    Pretty Tradouw gorge across the Langeberg Mountains:
    ➡️96km
    ⬆️1,200
    Monday 12 November: rest day There are many leisure excursions to be considered, hiking in the Bloupont region, drive with a tractor and trailer on the 1,400m high Papageikop, golf in Robertson, wine tasting on a wine estate in the Breede river valley, Montagu museum, or simply relax by the pool.
    Tuesday 13 November: cycle Montagu–Bonnivale–Robertson. Stay in a beautiful guesthouse in the winemaking town of Robertson. Today we continue cycling through the charming Kogmanns Gorge after which the landscape opens up. We ride through the Bree River Valley with vineyards on either side of us to Bonnivale. Along the way we might stop at a winery and do another wine tasting. Different route in between and joins the Valley road at Bonnivale:
    ➡️65km
    ⬆️350m
    ➡️100km
    ⬆️600m
    Wednesday 14 November: cycle Robertson–Worcester–Wellington. Stay in comfortable cottages on a lovely wine estate. In front of the impressive backdrop of the over 2,000m Hex River Mountains we cycle through the Bree River Valley to Worcester. We pass wine estates before entering the idyllic Bainskloof Gorge and ride up onto Bainskloof Pass (600m). Along the way there is a chance to swim in one of many natural river pools. After a long downward ride, with wonderful views over the Cape Vineyards, we reach the winemaking town of Wellington. Start riding from Worcester to Wellington:
    ➡️60km
    ⬆️500m
    ➡️110km
    ⬆️700m
    Thursday 15 November: cycle Kleinmond–Gordons Bay. We will stay in a ★★★★ hotel not far from the sea and waterfront. The seafood cuisine in Cape Town is outstanding with lobster being their specialty and also affordable. A short transfer takes you to Stellenbosch, the second oldest settlement in the country with lots of nice homes build in the unique Cape-Dutch style. We do a guided walk pointing out the most interesting ones. We start riding from nearby Kleinmond and cycle together along the beautiful False Bay coast line to Gordon’s Bay. With a bit of luck we can spot some Southern Right Whales in the bay whilst riding! A short transfer brings us to Cape Town, one of the most beautiful situated cities in the world. ➡️50km
    ⬆️300m
    ➡️50km
    ⬆️300m
    Friday 16 November: cycle around Cape of Good Hope Transfer to Simonstown where we visit a penguin colony. Start of the awesome ride around the Cape of Good Hope. In the National Park we might find Eland and Bontebok antelope as well as Baboon and Cape Zebra. On the Western side of the Cape Peninsula we cycle along the Atlantic Ocean back to Cape Town. The coastal road over Chapman’s Peak and Hout Bay are truly one of the most breathtaking stretches in South Africa. It is not by chance that the popular annual Cape Town Cycle Tour, with over 35,000 participants from all over the world, takes place here. Start at Cape of Good Hope & ride all the way back to Cape Town:
    ➡️65km
    ⬆️850m
    ➡️95km
    ⬆️1,100m
    Saturday 17 November: Transfer to Cape Town Airport. Return to US Before the airport transfer and depending on your flight departure time, you may have time to do the following, go up Table Mountain and enjoy the amazing views over the town (optional), or for example visit the prison cell on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held captive for the majority of his prison sentence (optional). This versatile tour ends with your transfer to Cape Town Airport
    Sunday 18 November: arrive US

    Participants

    Profile

    You should enjoy traveling and be comfortable traveling in areas which are unfamiliar to you. You should recognize that you may find yourself in closer quarters or be less comfortable than you are used to at home. You should make it a priority to help others on the trip and contribute to their having a great time. If you do that, we guarantee that you will have a great time.

    Experience & Risks

    People wishing to participate in this trip must have previous group bicycle experience, at the intermediate level or higher. Several of the days are long and strenuous. You need to be prepared to commit yourself to keeping in shape between the time you sign up for the trip to the time you depart on it.

    When you participate in this activity, you should be prepared both physically and mentally, and equipped with the appropriate gear. You should always be aware of the risks involved and conduct yourself accordingly. We are not responsible for your safety—you are.

    Nonetheless, it may happen on any trip that a leader decides that a trip member is or becomes unable to participate in one or more of the planned activities. Leaders in their sole judgment have the right and obligation to refuse participation in any activity to any group member for reasons of safety, whether it be of the group or of the individual. Illness, injury or lack of proper gear or fitness for a particular activity are examples of some conditions that might result in a participant’s being unable to perform one or more activities. Leaders may try to find a substitute activity for the trip member, but this may not always be possible.

    Prior to your being accepted as a participant in this trip, you will be asked to discuss your capabilities and experience with us. Please do not be offended by our questions.

    Weather is likely to be temperate and sunny, although there is always a possibility of precipitation. That said, climate is unpredictable and can range from 30-80℉.

    Cost


    The final trip cost will be adjusted in accordance with the best final arrangements we can make and currency fluctuations. Any savings we achieve, as well as any cost increases, will be passed back to you. Our cost estimates are conservative, and so a refund is considerably more likely than a price increase.

    Cost is US$3,999 per person shared occupancy. Deposit of US$1,000 is due with application. Balance of US$2,999 is due by 1 April 2018.

    Includes:

    • Fifteen nights of lodging.
    • Breakfast and dinner for the entire trip, starting with dinner on 3 November through breakfast on 17 November 2018.
    • Van transport & support as a scheduled part of the itinerary.
    • Emergency medical & evacuation insurance coverage.

    Does not include:

    • Airfare. The trip leaders will advise you as much as you need and will facilitate group travel. At this time, we estimate that the cost for a round trip ticket between the US East Coast and South Africa will be in the range of $1,500–$2,000.
    • Lunches, beverages, & incidental expenses.
    • Local transport between arrival airport & beginning of trip.
    • Local transport between end of trip & departure airport.
    • Insurance for travel delay, interruption, cancellation, or for baggage loss. If the possibility of such problems concerns you, individual travel insurance is suggested. The AMC has a recommended vendor whose material will be sent to you if your application is accepted.

    Registration

    We expect a group size of 16 people, including the 2 leaders. This trip is likely to fill quickly. If you are interested, you should apply as soon as possible. When registration is complete, we will send all participants the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all those going on the trip.

    To apply, you must download, complete, and submit the application documents which consist of:

    You will not be accepted and your check will not be deposited until the leaders have determined by telephone conversation with you that you and the trip are a good match. Deposit checks from wait-listed applicants will not be cashed until a spot is available, the applicant is accepted onto the trip, & they confirmed their continued interest.

    Participant cancellation policy

    Cancellation will not be allowed to raise the cost to the other participants or to the leaders.

    The minimum cancellation fee is $500 once the trip has been declared a go. If actual costs (expenses already incurred on your behalf, and any unavoidable future expenses that will be incurred as a result of your registration & cancellation) are higher, they will be assessed instead, unless they can be applied toward another acceptable participant.

    Trip cancellation policy

    In the unlikely event that the trip is cancelled, everything you have paid to AMC for this trip will be refunded in full.

    Participants are responsible for their own airline tickets & other external expenses. Most airlines no longer give refunds for cancellations; instead, they issue coupons for a future trip with an administrative charge and an expiration date. Trip cancellation insurance is advised—policy information will be supplied to all participants.

    Disclosure

    AMC Adventure Travel trips are run on a nonprofit basis. Leaders are not compensated except for their travel and administrative costs associated with the trip. A program fee is assessed toward AMC Adventure Travel program and administrative expenses.

    Leaders

    Mike Barry


    Mike has been biking since junior high and has been leading rides with the AMC since he moved here in the 1990s. He leads rides from evening rides to local day trips to regional weekends to week long tours in New England and in Tuscany and the Czech Republic for AMCs Adventure Travel Program.

    Rami Haddad


    Rami is an active AMC leader with Adventure Travel, Bicycle, Ski, & Family committees. He travelled throughout the Alps region on several trips for hiking, bicycle touring, sightseeing, Boston Marathon, & Ironman Switzerland. He has been on extended trekking & bicycle tours through the Pacific Northwest, Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountains, Japan, France, & Germany.

    Required Packing List

    • Passport. Tourist visa not required for US citizens. For other citizens, check with the embassy.
    • Helmet (include label with emergency contacts)
    • Water bottles or water bladder
    • Bicycle shorts
    • Rain gear
    • Casual clothing when off the bicycle
    • Warm clothing (it can get cool)
    • Tire irons, wrench keys, chain tool, patch kit, & pump

    Optional Packing List

    The following is a long list of optional items to bring. Use it as a reminder of additional items that can make your trip and rides more comfortable.

    • Bicycle Gear
      • Tubes
      • Helmet mirror
      • Chamois cream
    • Bicycle Clothing
      • Shorts
      • Jersey
      • Arm & leg warmers
      • Rain jacket
      • Vest
      • Socks
      • Gloves
      • Sunglasses
      • Shoes
    • Accessories
      • Swim suit
      • Toothbrush & paste
      • Lip balm
      • Razor & shaving cream
      • Contact lens solution & case
      • Glasses
      • Flashlight or head lamp
      • Mobile phone & charger
      • Deodorant
      • Sunscreen
      • Camera & battery charger
      • GPS, power charger, & bicycle mount
      • AA & AAA batteries

    Boston Marathon

    Event Report: 17 April 2017

    How could I decline the opportunity to run the marathoners’ marathon?

    Way back in October 2016, I entered the lottery to join John Hancock team of 150. At number 74 on the wait list, I did not have any hope. It meant that 50% of those already on the team will have to drop for me to get the next spot.

    With less than three months until Patriots’ Day, on Friday 20 January 2017, I received a notice: “Congratulations! You have cleared the waitlist to receive a guaranteed invitational entry for the 2017 Boston Marathon!

    Never mind the very short notice to allow for proper training. I jumped right in. And so the difficult & painful training schedule started.

    Training did pay off in the end, finishing the race within my target time in 3:59:07.

    Adventure Cycling

    I chose to raise funds for Adventure Cycling Association—not that I needed any excuse. There are always many ways to do that anytime. Please support their mission:

    Race Day

    Boston is tough. Training started hard in the middle of winter. I trained in snow blizzards with ice pellets piercing through my eyes. I trained in the rain & slush completely soaked. And trained late at night, on week days, after work, in far below freezing temperatures with headlight.

    Boston course is tough. It hammers the legs from the first step with a descent that busts the thighs to hills that strain the calves.

    Yet, the race was a beautiful day to remember, achieved my target time, & showed Adventure Cycling some love.

    Half way through the race, the official clock showed me 59 seconds behind my target time. Ahead me was the second half, four hills, & tired legs. Nevertheless, I pressed on with faster pace, gaining just a few second with every kilometer. The sound tunnel of spectators along the entire course gave me more energy. Then I saw the finish line, with 53 seconds to spare.

    Midnight Bicycle Ride

    While training for the flèche bicycle ride in 24 hours of all 6 New England states, I joined a midnight bicycle ride of the marathon course on the morning of 18 April 2016.

    This has been an annual event, unofficial, while the course is still open for traffic.

    Dubai Marathon

    It has been more than five years since my last marathon in Dubai on 21 January 2011:

    My goal was to finish in 4:00:00 hours. I finished in 3:58:24.

    We were traveling around the world for most of that year. The marathon was an opportunity to stay active on the road.

    Training Plan

    I followed the training plan from Runner’s World magazine July 2010 almost to the letter with pace, distance, & terrain.

    There were only a handful of exceptions when on one early run I was injured so I walked most of the allocated distance, one full weekend when I was away on a ski trip, & a few days when I was ill in bed.

    Day Activities Log
    Sunday 22 January 2017 16:36: easy I had just cleared the waitlist two days ago on Friday. It took me most of Saturday to digest the news, plan training, & get my gear in order.

    This long run will turn out to be a very fast start, causing me much pain for several weeks. After much stretching & training, I recovered though.
  • Map: view GPS recording & download GPX data
  • Distance: 15.66km
  • Pace: 6:14/km
  • Duration: 1h:37m:35s
  • Ascent: 111m
  • Temperature: 3.1ºC
  • Tuesday 20:39: easy I normally run on trails with Salomon shoes. I started with this pair until I decided on a Salomon road running shoe.

    Garmin Tempe sensor attached on shoe to record temperature during run.

  • Map
  • 6.43km
  • 6:11/km
  • 39:47
  • 13m
  • 0.9ºC
  • Wednesday 20:04: hills Neighborhood hill on a short loop that allowed me to repeat it several times, accumulating elevation throughout the run.

    Later, this hill became part of every single run during training. Initially it was on hill training days only. But given how difficult the Boston marathon course is, I decided to include it regularly.

  • Map
  • 11.36km
  • 6:15/km
  • 1:10:55
  • 249m
  • 0.7ºC
  • Friday 20:28: marathon pace
  • Map
  • 6.48km
  • 5:40/km
  • 36:46
  • 45m
  • 2.2ºC
  • Saturday 20:36: easy
  • Map
  • 6.49km
  • 6:14/km
  • 40:31
  • 0m
  • -0.1ºC
  • Sunday 29 January 2017 8:26: long
  • Map
  • 21.15km
  • 6:11/km
  • 2:10:53
  • 118m
  • 4.8ºC
  • Wednesday 10:19: hills
  • Map
  • 9.7km
  • 6:12/km
  • 1:00:03
  • 201m
  • 1.6ºC
  • Thursday 15:52: easy Trail run in Missoula, MT, just head of my first meeting there as a board member for Adventure Cycling Association.
  • Map
  • 6.84km
  • 5:40/km
  • 38:44
  • 13m
  • -3.3ºC
  • Saturday 11:46: easy There were plenty of reasons to talk me into running on a treadmill, inside a gym warm room, instead of outside on snow in sub-freezing temperature. None of them was enough.
  • Map
  • 9.82km
  • 6:12/km
  • 1:00:50
  • 33m
  • 0.5ºC
  • Sunday 5 February 2017 12:04: long Pain. Not sure how, but I got injured badly on this run. True that I had been in pain since I started training. Today was different. Well into my run, at about 14km, I fell in pain. Not able to continue running. I walked the remaining 10km.

    It was time to get serious about stretching & treatment.

  • Map
  • 23.72km
  • 6:52/km
  • 2:42:51
  • 188m
  • 6.5ºC
  • Tuesday 20:38: easy Garmin fēnix 5 was recently announced, but not available yet in market. Until then, the fēnix 3 had the most important job of keeping my pace.
  • Map
  • 9.41km
  • 6:12/km
  • 58:15
  • 67m
  • 0.1ºC
  • Wednesday 19:51: hills Getting recommendations for cinnamon, turmeric, Aleve, & others to help with knee pain.
  • Map
  • 10.90km
  • 6:15/km
  • 1:08:08
  • 234m
  • 2.7ºC
  • Friday 16:49: marathon pace 1.5km warm up at 6:15/km, 5.0km at 5:41/km, 1.5km cool down at 6:15/km Foam roller was definitely helping, not without screams.
  • Map
  • 8.09km
  • 5:46/km
  • 46:44
  • 32m
  • -5.7ºC
  • Sunday 12 February 2017 11:39: long Big storm, snow accumulating fast. I put traction on my running shoes. Completed hilly loop multiple times. This loop, with minor variations to it, was becoming my favorite on every run to combine hills, & allow flexibility to make minor adjustments to distance.
  • Map
  • 25.75km
  • 6:12/km
  • 2:39:28
  • 287m
  • -1.2ºC
  • Tuesday 7:53: easy In Toronto for training all week, just ahead of big ski trip. Very hard to find hills around town.
  • Map
  • 9.03km
  • 5:29/km
  • 49:33
  • 37m
  • 3.8ºC
  • Wednesday 22:00: hills After much map studies & people recommendations, this was the most hilly route I can find nearby.
  • Map
  • 11.32km
  • 6:11/km
  • 1:09:56
  • 141m
  • -2.6ºC
  • Wednesday 22 February 2017 19:55: tempo 2.5km warm up at 6:12/km, 8.00km at 5:17/km, 2.5km cool down at 6:12/km This came after a long break from running while I was away on a cross-country ski trip in Maine. I put plenty of distance there, but did not count it toward training.

    For these regular night runs, or during the low visibility snow days, this reflective vest was essential.

  • Map
  • 13.06km
  • 5:38/km
  • 1:13:34
  • 135m
  • 3.2ºC
  • Friday 12:25: marathon pace 1.5km warm up at 6:12/km, 11.00km at 5:41/km, 1.5km cool down at 6:12/km
  • Map
  • 14.54km
  • 5:47/km
  • 1:24:08
  • 147m
  • 24.3ºC
  • Saturday 16:56: easy Middlesex Fells Reservation on my way to the airport.
  • Map
  • 6.67km
  • 6:11/km
  • 41:17
  • 114m
  • 16.6ºC
  • Sunday 26 February 14:24: long Fund raising for Adventure Cycling Association:
  • Map
  • 29.23km
  • 6:08/km
  • 2:59:06
  • 285m
  • 6.2ºC
  • Tuesday 20:56: easy Most unexpected gift from dear friends in Switzerland. Ovomaltine is chocolate fortified with vitamins & minerals, designed for endurance sports. This was exactly what I needed for the long marathon runs.
  • Map
  • 6.71km
  • 6:08/km
  • 41:07
  • 81m
  • 9.1ºC
  • Wednesday 20:15: Yasso 6✖️800 Daily stretching routine using this convenient strap:
  • Map
  • 12.76km
  • 5:37/km
  • 1:11:43
  • 48m
  • 15.1ºC
  • Friday 17:15: marathon pace warm up, 14km at 5:41/km, cool down Hammer Nutrition Tissue Rejuvenator for joint pain, Race Caps Supreme for electrolytes.
  • Map
  • 16.14km
  • 5:46/km
  • 1:33:01
  • 175m
  • 0.0ºC
  • Saturday 16:17: easy
  • Map
  • 6.46km
  • 6:08/km
  • 39:35
  • 67m
  • -6.5ºC
  • Sunday 5 March 2017 13:31: long Feeling comfortable with the food arrangement during run: small bottle with liquid chocolate & honey mix with supplement of energy bars or sweets.
  • Map
  • 32.08km
  • 6:06/km
  • 3:15:52
  • 366m
  • 2.1ºC
  • Tuesday 18:39: easy Thinking about summer: purchased swim tag for Reservoir & town pools.
  • Map
  • 6.96km
  • 6:07/km
  • 42:36
  • 84m
  • 6.8ºC
  • Wednesday 20:44: easy Toes bruised & blue, even though wearing toe socks. Switched to toe gel caps for rest of training:
  • Map
  • 11.30km
  • 6:07/km
  • 1:09:13
  • 128m
  • 7.5ºC
  • Friday 16:23: marathon pace warm up, 13km at 5:41/km, cool down Heartbreak Hill training, part of marathon course, the last of four consecutive hills.

    After work, I took train to Wellesley, started running the course back toward Boston.

  • Map
  • 16.32km
  • 5:46/km
  • 1:34:04
  • 142m
  • 0.7ºC
  • Saturday 17:02: easy Incendo Hoody is very light wind breaker, with some water resistance, frequently used external layer.
  • Map
  • 6.53km
  • 6:07/km
  • 39:59
  • 68m
  • -6.7ºC
  • Sunday 12 March 2017 13:05: long Half way through training plan.
  • Map
  • 32.35km
  • 6:07/km
  • 3:17:57
  • 343m
  • 0.4ºC
  • Tuesday 12:19: easy High wind, wet, cold. Running on thick snow like running in loose sand. Ran in track, steps marked trail on first loop, kept head down to avoid ice pellets in my eyes, followed steps loop after another.
  • Map
  • 11.30km
  • 1:09:10
  • 131m
  • 0.1ºC
  • Wednesday 14:25: tempo, 3km warm up, 8km at 5:17min/km, 3km cool down Snow from storm yesterday will remain for a while. Sidewalks & trails covered with ice & crusty snow. Meandered through small streets.
  • Map
  • 14.85km
  • 1:26:22
  • 111m
  • -0.1ºC
  • Thursday 19:29: easy Evening run, trying to avoid black ice on sidewalks & streets. Greek yogurt & chocolate Vermont Peanut Butter fuel.
  • Map
  • 9.47km
  • 57:58
  • 109m
  • 0.2ºC
  • Saturday 15:27: easy
  • Map
  • 13.33km
  • 1:21:33
  • 192m
  • 5.9ºC
  • Sunday 19 March 2017 12:47: long Slightly shorter from last Sunday in preparation for the longest run next Sunday.
  • Map
  • 24.62km
  • 2:30:52
  • 269m
  • 4.2ºC
  • Tuesday 19:04: easy
  • Map
  • 13.33km
  • 1:21:33
  • 192m
  • 5.9ºC
  • Wednesday 22:08: Yasso 8✖️800 Started run very late at night after long busy day. Track still covered in snow & ice. Instead, ran intervals on Minute Man path.
  • Map
  • 14.53km
  • 1:23:33
  • 48m
  • -6.7ºC
  • Friday 15:56: easy REI dividend received, just when the Garmin fēnix 5 was available for pre-order.
  • Map
  • 9.68km
  • 58:38
  • 120m
  • 3.1ºC
  • Saturday 14:30: easy Nervously preparing for longest run tomorrow, planning for food to carry.
  • Map
  • 9.73km
  • 58:57
  • 117m
  • 2.8ºC
  • Sunday 26 March 2017 12:51: longest run of training plan Kept steady pace, felt good, nutrition was sufficient: Ovomaltine chocolate spread mixed with Honey Stinger gel packets.
    Wednesday 20:07: easy Skipped training on Tuesday, shifting training plan by one day, so that long run will be on Monday to match marathon day.

    Upgraded my old Black Diamond Icon headlight to the latest model with 500 lumens to help on night runs.

  • Map
  • 13.03km
  • 6:04/km
  • 1:18:58
  • 119m
  • 4.0ºC
  • Thursday 14:05: tempo 3.25km warm up at 6:04/km, 6.50km fast at 5:11/km, 3.25km cool down at 6:04/km Spring is here: sunny warm weather:
  • Map
  • 13.01km
  • 5:37/km
  • 1:13:09
  • 126m
  • 14.1ºC
  • Saturday 13:22: easy Not funny April Fools’ day joke for weather to turn into heavy wet snow all day:
  • Map
  • 11.16km
  • 6:04/km
  • 1:07:37
  • 83m
  • 0.2ºC
  • Sunday 15:49: easy Weather cleared again, trails still mostly wet in slush. Feet & shoes were soaked, although water proof socks helped:
  • Map
  • 11.26km
  • 6:04/km
  • 1:08:16
  • 101m
  • 14.3ºC
  • Monday 3 April 2017 16:59: long Fell sick. After an already tough week in changing weather, rain & caught up with me in Toronto. Arrived from run shivering cold. Stayed sick, rested without any training runs until end of week.
  • Map
  • 24.70km
  • 6:03/km
  • 2:29:38
  • 259m
  • 10.1ºC
  • Saturday 17:15: easy Slowly recovering. Luckily, I was tapering, so runs are getting easier.
  • Map
  • 8.39km
  • 6:03/km
  • 50:47
  • 76m
  • 9.6ºC
  • Sunday 13:53: easy Nice & warm.
  • Map
  • 8.40km
  • 6:03/km
  • 50:52
  • 78m
  • 22.6ºC
  • Monday 10 April 2017 20:19: long Feeling very close to weekend celebrations & marathon. Received ticket for Red Sox reception & game.
  • Map
  • 19.17km
  • 6:03/km
  • 1:56:05
  • 175m
  • 15.7ºC
  • Wednesday 22:24: tempo 2.50km warm up at 6:04/km, 3.00km fast at 5:17/km, 2.50km cool down at 6:04/km
  • Map
  • 8.13km
  • 5:46/km
  • 46:53
  • 103m
  • 10.5ºC
  • Friday 20:55: easy Picked up bib number & race packet, including a large poster of race runners.
  • Map
  • 8.14km
  • 6:15/km
  • 50:51
  • 103m
  • 7.7ºC
  • Sunday 12:40: easy Resting all weekend, preparing for race day with target time of 4:00:00.
  • Map
  • 5.05km
  • 6:15/km
  • 31:32
  • 57m
  • 33.5ºC
  • Monday 17 April 2017 11:21: race against target time Official finish time 3:59:07
  • Map
  • 43.00km
  • 5:34/km
  • 3:59:12
  • 257m
  • 24.8ºC
  • Gear

    Here are my most frequently used gear during training. They vary greatly based on weather.

    Treatment

    Trekking Patagonia

    Trip Prospectus

    3–18 March 2018
    Trip #1807

    Join leaders Sarah Keats and Rami Haddad on a 15-day adventure to remote southern Patagonia, land of superlatives—majestic pinnacle peaks, immense glaciers, fierce winds and exotic animals. Explore some of South America’s finest national parks including the Los Glaciares National Park, home to some of the world’s most stunning ice formations, and Torres del Paine National Park famous for its granite pillars, lakes and mountains.

    Mirador De las Torres (@backpackinghack)

    Patagonia is the geographical region that lies at the southernmost tip of South America, lying in both Chile and Argentina. Patagonia has a well-deserved reputation for outstanding natural and scenic beauty. Spectacular treks will lead us to iconic massifs: Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre, Cuernos and Torres del Paine, and other dramatic sights. Join us on this exciting adventure to see jagged peaks, massive glaciers, icebergs, blue-green lakes and much more. A combination of day hikes, backpack with full-service backcountry refugios, and guided tours will provide us a unique opportunity to experience this rugged and beautiful area.

    Accommodations & Meals

    The accommodations provided on this trip are a mix of small hotels, hostels, & backcountry full-service huts (called refugios). Accommodations will be mixed gender in some of the hostels and refugios. All meals on the “W” backpack are included. Most breakfasts are included.

    Itinerary Summary

    Day Activities Meals Included
    Saturday 3 March 2018 Leave US
    Sunday 4 March 2018 Arrive El Calafate, Argentina, airport (FTE); transfer to local accommodation
    Monday 5 March 2018 Visit Laguna Nimez bird sanctuary; explore the town Breakfast
    Tuesday 6 March 2018 Guided tour to Perito Moreno Glacier; travel to El Chaltén Breakfast
    Wednesday 7 March 2018 Day hike to Laguna Torre for views of Cerro Torre and massive glaciers Breakfast
    Thursday 8 March 2018 Day hike to Laguna de los Tres for excellent views of Mt Fitz Roy Breakfast
    Friday 9 March 2018 Guided Viedma glacier ice trekking Breakfast
    Saturday 10 March 2018 Private charter van excursion from El Chaltén to Puerto Natales Breakfast
    Sunday 11 March 2018 Tour to Milodon Caves in the morning, time to do laundry, repack Breakfast
    Monday 12 March 2018 Take the bus to Torres del Paine National Park where we will start the world-famous “W” trek; hike to refugio Grey and spend the night Breakfast & Dinner
    Tuesday 13 March 2018 Hike to the mirador beyond Grey and Hike to Paine Grande lodge for the night Breakfast, lunch, & dinner
    Wednesday 14 March 2018 Hike to Refugio Cuernos; optional side trip up the French Valley, weather permitting Breakfast, lunch, & dinner
    Thursday 15 March 2018 Hike to Refugio Chileno along beautiful Lago Nordenskjöld for our last night in the Park Breakfast, lunch, & dinner
    Friday 16 March 2018 Up early to hike to Mirador de Las Torres area, and return to Hosteria las Torres to meet our private transport to Puerto Natales Breakfast & lunch
    Saturday 17 March 2018 Bus to Punta Arenas airport (PUQ) for afternoon flights home Breakfast
    Sunday 18 March 2018 Arrive US

    Air Transport

    Perito Moreno Glacier (@_AndyBest)


    Please arrive at El Calafate, Argentina, airport code FTE, by late afternoon on Sunday 4 March 2018.

    The trip ends at Punta Arenas, Chile, airport code PUQ, on the morning of Saturday 17 Mar 2018.

    Your transportation to El Calafate, Argentina & back from Punta Arenas, Chile are your responsibility. They are not included in trip fee. You can use frequent flyer miles, a travel agent, an airline, or any discount wholesaler (Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak, Excite, Priceline, etc). The leaders will try to assist you as needed.

    Experience & Risks

    Although the hiking will be at a moderate pace, this is not a trip for beginners or people who have not backpacked for several years. Several of the days are long (up to 15 miles) & strenuous. Be prepared for very high winds and the possibility rain. You should be in excellent physical condition at the time we depart. Since it will be winter in the US and late summer there, you need to be prepared to commit yourself to keeping in shape between the time you sign up for the trip and the time you depart. At six weeks prior to the trip you should consult your physician to see what, if any, vaccinations are recommended for travel to South America.

    Laguna De Los Tres & Mt Fitz Roy (@Trotoise)

    When you participate in this activity, you should be prepared both physically and mentally, and equipped with the appropriate gear. You should always be aware of the risks involved and conduct yourself accordingly. We are not responsible for your safety—you are.

    Nonetheless, it may happen on any trip that a trip member is or becomes unable to participate in one or more of the planned activities. Leaders in their sole judgment have the right and obligation to refuse participation in any activity to any group member for reasons of group or individual safety. Illness, injury or lack of proper gear or fitness for a particular activity are examples of some conditions that might result in a participant’s being unable to perform one or more activity. Leaders may try to find a substitute activity for the trip member, but this may not always be possible.

    Prior to your being accepted as a participant in this trip, you will be asked to discuss your capabilities and experience with us. Please do not be offended by our questions.

    Weather is likely to be temperate & sunny, although there is always a possibility of some precipitation. That said, mountain climate is unpredictable and can range from 30–80ºF. Snow can fall in every month of the year.

    Typical Participant

    You should enjoy traveling and be comfortable traveling in areas that are unfamiliar to you. You should recognize that you may find yourself in closer quarters or be less comfortable than you are used to at home. You should make it a priority to help others on the trip and contribute to their having a great time. If you do that, we guarantee that you will have a great time. This trip is designed for experienced hikers. You must be able to hike for up to 8 hours a day, not counting breaks, at a moderate pace, with moderate elevation gains (not higher than 3,000 feet), while carrying enough equipment to keep you safe in the event of bad weather or injury.

    Inside a refugio (@BenAshmole)

    To participate in this excursion, you must consider and agree to the following:

    • Group dynamics: you must participate as part of a group and abide by the leader’s decisions. You must work towards the group’s having a good time, be prepared to help your fellow hikers and spend time with other participants on the trip. By doing so, you will enjoy the trip to the maximum.
    • Group safety: this is our number 1 priority.

    Group Size

    The trip is priced for 10 participants & 2 leaders. We fully expect that the trip will fill up as it has every time it has been offered. Apply early to avoid disappointment.

    Itinerary Details

    All distance & elevation information are approximate based on representative maps.
    The leaders reserve the right to change the itinerary for reasons such as weather, trail conditions, availability of accommodations, group preference, etc.

    Day Activities Trail
    Saturday 3 March 2018 Leave US (if coming direct). You may leave Friday evening to spend an extra night in El Calafate or en route in Buenos Aires.
    Sunday 4 March 2018 It is likely that you will connect via Buenos Aires: allow plenty of time (4–5 hours) to transfer from Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE) to domestic Jorge Newbery Airport (AEP). Arrive El Calafate and transfer to our local accommodation by taxi. The name & address of your hostel (shared two-bed rooms) in El Calafate will be provided. The town has many restaurants. There is a supermarket nearby to shop for lunches, trail snacks & fruits. We will have our first evening meal together with all participants on either the first or second night depending on when trip members arrive.
    Monday 5 March 2018 Buffet breakfast in our hostel opens at 6:00. There is an interesting National Park in town and a wonderful bird sanctuary, Laguna Nimez, which we will visit. If your luggage or your flight are delayed, you can use today to catch up. Free exploration or catch-up day in El Calafate.
    Tuesday 6 March 2018 Check out of the hostel. Travel to Perito Moreno glacier, passing Lago Argentino, accompanied by a local naturalist. We will continue travel by the same charter van to our hostel in El Chaltén with stops for breath-taking photography opportunities. Stay in the same hostel for 4 nights in shared twin bed rooms with breakfasts included. Inside the National Park, we will wander long and wide catwalks, arranged in three levels, to be dazzled by the spectacular views of the Perito Moreno Glacier, further enhanced every now and then by the calving, sometimes significant, of its front wall.
    Wednesday 7 March 2018 Day hike in Los Glaciares to Laguna Torre, with magnificent views of the extraordinary rock spire of Cerro Torre and a sprawling mass of intersecting glaciers. We may take a side trip to Mirador Maestri for more views of Cerro Torre and Cordón Adela, a serrated ridge of snow-capped peaks between Cerro Grande and Cerro Torre. Distance ➡️21km, elevation ⬆️450m, book time 🔄6:00 hours, without the side trip.
    Thursday 8 March 2018 Day hike to Campamento Poincenot & Laguna de los Tres, the lake at the foot of iconic Monte Fitz Roy. At Campamento Poincenot we will look directly up at the spires of the Fitz Roy massif. Rewarding views of Fitz Roy from Laguna de los Tres and its surroundings. ➡️22km, ⬆️1,100m, 🔄8:00hr
    Friday 9 March 2018 If the weather forecast is good in El Chaltén, we will take a guided Viedma Glacier ice trek adventure. Board a boat which takes about an hour to reach the glacier. The whole trip is about 6 hours. If the weather is not suitable for the boat ride, this day will be a free day for short hikes to nearby waterfalls and other attractions. After scrambling over some cliffs and being given a geological history of the glacier, you will put on provided crampons and venture out onto the glacier for about 2 hours to see some amazing features of the glacier.
    Saturday 10 March 2018 Private charter van excursion and many magnificent viewpoints again along the way from El Chaltén in Argentina to Puerto Natales, Chile, the jumping off place for the Torres del Paine trek.
    Sunday 11 March 2018 Visit the historic Milodon caves outside of Natales. Milodons, giant, extinct prehistoric sloths used to roam this area. Who knows, we might see a puma! You will have time in the afternoon to repack and get ready for TdP. Our luggage not used in the 5-day “W” backpack will be stored at our hostel in Puerto Natales. The caves and surrounding trails are fascinating and picturesque.
    Monday 12 March 2018 Take a public bus to Pudeto pier on Lake Pehoe in Torres del Paine National Park. We will take a scenic catamaran ride at noon to Paine Grande Lodge and hike from there to Refugio Grey where we spend our first night. ➡️11km, ⬆️350m, 🔄4:00hr
    Tuesday 13 March 2018 Trek to viewpoints beyond Refugio Grey to take in views of the snout of Grey Glacier, the largest in Torres del Paine before we return to Paine Grande for our second night. Paine Grande is the largest refugio in the Park and sports a full bar and lots of lounging areas. ➡️14km, ⬆️350m, 🔄6:00hr
    Wednesday 14 March 2018 Trek from Paine Grande to Albergue los Cuernos. If the weather and Park conditions permit we will explore the remote French Valley from Campamento Italiano. The French Glacier clings to the mountain here and we may see and hear cascading avalanches of snow and ice as we hike up the opposite side of the valley. Trek back down the valley and continue on to the Albergue Los Cuernos. If we are able to do the French Valley, this is a full day’s hiking with fantastic views of granite peaks as well as the waterscapes below including lakes Pehoe, Skottsburg, and Nordenskjöld. We spend the night at the beautiful Albergue Los Cuernos on the shore of Lago Nordenskjöld. ➡️25km, ⬆️900m, 🔄9:00hr, including French Valley spur. Otherwise, ➡️14km, ⬆️300m, 🔄5:00hr
    Thursday 15 March 2018 Some ups and downs and ups, hiking to the refugio Chileno, which lies at about 1300′. We continue trekking northeast along the tranquil shores of Lago Nordenskjöld and on to our hut. Get ready for an early start the next day! ➡️15km, ⬆️750m
    Friday 16 March 2018 Hike to the much photographed Torres del Paine lookout (Mirador). We can take just our day hiking gear with us and leave our overnight gear at the hut. We will pick up all our gear and hike down to Hosteria las Torres where we catch a private charter van back to Puerto Natales. We will have our farewell dinner here. Round trip to Torres del Paine: ➡️10km, ⬆️550m, 🔄4:00hr. Continue to Hosteria las Torres: ➡️5km, ⬆️75m, 🔄2:00hr.
    Saturday 17 March 2018 The 9:00 bus to Punta Arenas, on the Straits of Magellan will drop us at the airport (PUQ) just before noon in time for afternoon flights home (or to your next destination). Most of us will probably fly home via Santiago, Chile from Punta Arenas.

    Those wishing to visit Punta Arenas may stay on the bus and spend a day or two for a tour of a penguin sanctuary. There is easy transport back to PUQ airport from the city. This extension is not part of the AMC trip but the leaders are familiar with this option and will gladly advise you about it.

    Sunday 18 March 2018 Arrive back in the US

    Cost

    The final trip cost will be adjusted in accordance with the best final arrangements we can make and currency fluctuations. Any savings we achieve, as well as any cost increases, will be passed back to you. Our cost estimates are conservative, and so a refund is considerably more likely than a price increase.

    Cost of $3,450 include:

    • All accommodations 4–17 March 2018
    • All breakfasts from 5–17 March 2018
    • All meals on the “W” backpack from dinner on Monday 12 March through Friday 16 March 2018
    • Welcome and farewell dinners
    • Local ground transportation as part of trip itinerary, from 5 March through 17 March 2018
    • Hut and backcountry permits
    • Park admission fees
    • Guided Viedma glacier tour, ice trek and boat ride
    • Guides in Chalten and Torres del Paine
    • Milodon Cave tour
    • AMC Adventure Travel fee
    • Emergency medical and evacuation insurance coverage

    Not included in price of trip:

    • Airfare
    • Transportation to & from airports
    • Airport departure taxes (usually included in your airfare)
    • Dinners & lunches when not in Torres del Paine and not the farewell and welcome dinners, as listed in Summary Itinerary
    • Alcohol
    • Personal expenses
    • Insurance for travel delay, interruption, cancellation, or for baggage loss. If the possibility of such problems concerns you, individual travel insurance is suggested. The AMC has a recommended vendor whose material will be sent to you if your application is accepted.

    Registration

    We expect a group size of 12 people, including the 2 leaders. This trip is likely to fill quickly. If you are interested, you should apply as soon as possible. When registration is complete, we will send all participants the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all those going on the trip.

    To apply, you must download, complete, and submit the application documents which consist of:

    You will not be accepted and your check will not be deposited until the leaders have determined by telephone conversation with you that you and the trip are a good match. Deposit checks from wait-listed applicants will not be cashed until a spot is available, the applicant is accepted onto the trip, & they confirmed their continued interest.

    Participant Cancellation Policy

    Cancellation will not be allowed to raise the cost to the other participants or to the leaders.

    The minimum cancellation fee is $1,000 once the trip has been declared a go. If actual costs (expenses already incurred on your behalf, and any unavoidable future expenses that will be incurred as a result of your registration & cancellation) are higher, they will be assessed instead, unless they can be applied toward another acceptable participant.

    Trip Cancellation Policy

    In the unlikely event that the trip is cancelled, everything you have paid to AMC for this trip will be refunded in full.

    Participants are responsible for their own airline tickets & other external expenses. Most airlines no longer give refunds for cancellations; instead, they issue coupons for a future trip with an administrative charge and an expiration date. Trip cancellation insurance is advised—policy information will be supplied to all participants.

    Disclaimer

    AMC Adventure Travel trips are run on a nonprofit basis. Leaders are not compensated except for their travel and administrative costs associated with the trip. A program fee is assessed toward AMC Adventure Travel program and administrative expenses.

    Leaders

    Sarah Keats


    Sarah Keats is currently one of the Co-Chairs of the Maine Chapter Young Members and she leads AMC Maine and New Hampshire Chapter trips. She has explored numerous beautiful places out West, including the Olympic Peninsula, Lake Tahoe, Central Cascades, Canyons and National Parks. Sarah has been hiking mountains over 4,000 feet since she was 12 years old, and has completed the Adirondack 46, New England Hundred Highest, Winter NH 48, and Northeast 111/115. She has been an August Camp hike leader in both Oregon and Washington for the past two years. For Adventure Travel, Sarah has co-led a cross-country skiing trip to Austria and a canoe trip on the Buffalo River in Arkansas. Sarah can be contacted at +1-207-245-2563 or .com.

    Rami Haddad


    Rami is an active AMC leader with Adventure Travel, Bicycle, Ski, & Family committees. He travelled throughout the Alps region on several trips for hiking, bicycle touring, sight seeing, & Ironman Switzerland. He has been on extended trekking & bicycle tours through the Pacific Northwest, Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountains, Japan, France, & Germany. Contact Rami at +1-857-288-8571 or .com.

    Equipment List

    Cash

    The best exchange rates for Argentine and Chilean pesos are probably at ATMs in each country. In-country banks and money exchanges away from airports are probably next best. Traveler’s checks are not recommended. There are no reliable ATMs in tiny El Chaltén.

    Required & Essential Gear

    • Passport, at least six months from expiration
    • Backpack, at least 45–60 liters
    • Waterproof pack liner or both a liner & a pack cover. A pack cover will not keep water out in very high wind, but can keep the outside of the pack dryer
    • Sturdy, comfortable, waterproof hiking boots with extra shoelaces
    • Sleeping bag 30–40°F for “W” trek
    • Synthetic hiking clothing (tops & bottoms)
    • Waterproof rain gear (tops & bottoms)
    • Sweater/jacket, wool or fleece
    • Long pants, wool or fleece
    • Nalgene bottles/Camelback (at least 2 liters total capacity)
    • Sun hat or bandanna
    • Warm hat, neckband or balaclava
    • Gloves/mittens
    • Three pairs of hiking socks with liners
    • Tevas, Crocs or other similar footwear (to wear around our lodging)
    • Headlamp/flashlight with fresh batteries
    • Sunglasses
    • Sunscreen
    • Insect repellent
    • Personal blister kit, first aid kit and personal medications
    • High-energy trail snacks
    • Whistle & knife (knife not in carry-on)
    • Camp towel or light weight bath towel for backpack (yes, there are showers in the huts!)

    Recommended & Optional Gear

    • Small daypack/lumbar pack for sightseeing (or adaptation of full pack)
    • Gaiters (for rain and debris)
    • Hiking poles (not in carry-on), highly recommended for stream crossings, in rain and high winds
    • Waterproof matches (not in carry-on)
    • Casual clothing
    • Camera and spare batteries/charger and voltage converter or adapter as required.